la belle province

Once upon a time (a month ago) I went to Quebec. This was my first real work trip (to some place cool). I felt all adult and grown up and important. The only thing better than travelling is travelling for free.  

I've never been treated so "high class" in my life. Someone offered to take my bags at the hotel and I didn't even know what to do. I mean, I've seen this sort of thing in the movies before... but I'm the girl who sleeps in old bunk beds and showers in moldy bathrooms. It was like a Cinderella story!

It was a penthouse hotel in downtown Montreal, with a rooftop pool and a garden and all the cappuccinos my heart desired! 

On Sunday afternoons Montrealers gather together with their bongo drums at the foot of Mont-Royal to drum and dance and love life. So, I set out on a mission to find "Les Tam-tams du Mont-Royal".. I got lost along the way and met a kind stranger who was on the same quest. We got even more lost until we heard the symphony of bongo drums. 

I was delighted to find cherry blossoms in Montreal, I miss the pretty & pink Vancouver spring. 

Most of my week was spent learning about software, but I got to explore the city in the evenings. Montreal is artistic and vibrant with wonderful bursts of colour around every corner. 

I wanted the authentic Montreal experience so I ate poutine at Resto la Banquise and Schwartz's smoked meat sandwiches. I forgot to try a Fairmount Bagel(epic tourist fail). 

I rented a bike and went on a romantic ride (with myself) as the sun set over downtown Montreal. Maybe sometimes I do miss living in a big city. Or maybe I just miss being anonymous.

On my last day we went to see the Basilique Notre-Dame de Montreal. I could go on and rave about the intricate and exquisite detail... or I could just tell you what you really want to know: Celine Dion got hitched here. Also, at one point in time people thought that Moses had horns. 

I decided that while I was on the mainland, I'd turn this work trip into a mini-adventure for myself. So, Saturday morning I hopped on a train to Quebec City. Train rides always makes me feel like I'm on an adventure. 

I absolutely loved travelling Europe by rail in 2011. I listen to my "adventure" playlist and stare out the window as fields and towns whiz by along the way. You just see so much more from the ground. 

Google maps said that my hostel was a 15 minute walk from the train station, so I decided not to take the bus. Turns out that google maps doesn't tell you what roads are cobblestone and uphill. 

I love hostels. I love meeting people from all over the globe that share my passion for travel and adventure. I love listening to their stories, learning where they've been and where they're going. I've never stayed in a hostel in my own country, it was intriguing to meet young people and hear why they chose to come to Canada. 

"The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one's own country as a foreign land." - Gilbert K. Chesterton 

One thing that travel has given me is a new perspective. Canada really is a wonderful country and I'm blessed to call it home. I want to explore my backyard, I want to see my country through the eyes of a tourist.

I spent 3 days gallivanting along the old cobblestone streets, eating croissants and practicing my french. Sometimes I'd convince myself, even for a moment, that I was in a foreign country.  

Someone gave me a good tidbit of advice. He advised me not to get so caught up in "capturing the moment" that I forget to actually live the moment. How many times have I watched fireworks through the lens of a camera and leave with nothing more than a blurry photo? The best part of my Sunday was when my battery died and I was left to wander the streets aimlessly and lay in the sun.

I made a couple solid purchases, including this awesome cookie purse that has reached legendary status. It's my trademark these days.

When I saw this bag, I knew that it had to be mine. The quote translates to: "We never go as far as when we don't know where we're going." It sums up my life story perfectly.